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PIA Press Release

PBGEA asks Davao del Norte to help solve banana "pole-vaulting"

by JMD Abangan

TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte (2 April) -- The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, Inc (PBGEA) has sought assistance from the provincial government of Davao del Norte to regulate the business operation of spot-buyers of Cavendish banana.

The Association raised its appeal to the Davao del Norte provincial government for assistance to check on such sector of banana traders noting it to have the most number of corporate banana plantations.

PBGEA is a non-stock non-profit organization with a current membership of 34 corporate plantations producing Cavendish bananas for export.

The resolution dated February 7, 2008 signed by PBGEA President Stephen A. Antig stated that the Board of Directors of PBGEA "unanimously approved to pass this resolution seeking the assistance of the Government of Davao del Norte to pass an ordinance for these traders to legitimize their businesses, perform their duties as responsible citizens for the benefit of the community and the province as a whole."

PBGEA was referring to Cavendish spot-buyers who PBGEA had described as "traders who take advantage of the current demand for Cavendish bananas in the world market."

It claimed that such practice had encouraged the so-called "pole-vaulting" among their contracted growers "resulting in alarming field losses for the PBGEA members."

PBGEA counted on the assistance of the provincial government of Davao del Norte as "a prime factor towards controlling the proliferation of these traders."

Davao del Norte Provincial Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario showed deep interest in solving pole-vaulting "confronting the number one dollar-earner industry in the province."

In his first State of the Province Address (SOPA) delivered last Monday, del Rosario pressed for the "immediate creation of the Banana Industry Tripartite Council" to address the concern.

Meanwhile, the corporate banana plantations group also raised concern over a situation putting the country's banana industry into a bad light due to a China-bound shipload of bananas which were declared "unfit for human consumption."

PBGEA however had taken strides towards checking "bad bananas" to slip to export markets in a dialogue with various government agencies.

PBGEA resolution bared results of such talks saying this led to "an agreement with the Plant Quarantine Service of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to issue an administrative order for annual accreditation of banana producer/exporter and banana trader/exporter subject to conditions set by BPI."

On the other hand, Gerardo Ignacio Ongkingko, Lapanday Foods Corp. executive and vice president of the Philippine Banana Growers and Growers Association (PBGEA) looked at controlling exit points of bananas to export markets and legitimizing the businesses of spot-buyers, as possible ways of addressing pole-vaulting and its adverse effects to the banana industry.

Addressing the joint Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley Tripartite Industry Council, Ongkingko called for "arms interlocking" of corporate banana producers, the labor and various agencies of the government to shield the country's banana industry from the damaging consequence of pole-vaulting. (PIA) [top]

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